[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, & Brad Anderson
What is magic? What is a soul? Is there something magical about a soul? Do either exist or are they both just something that people choose to believe in? While not directly brought up, the ideas of magic, the soul, and AI/life intermingle in this issue so closely and touch on each other. This issue opens with Zatanna talking to Bruce about magic and showing him that magic isn’t slight of hand and distraction but really just asserting a reality onto someone.
Giving us more information about their past, we see a young Bruce and Zatanna in Zatara’s personal study. The young and foolish girl, looking to impress the equally young boy, show’s Bruce the room and the world of magic contained within it.
There he gets the first glimpse of the hidden world of magic, but quickly Zatara finds them and wipes Bruce’s memory and tells the youngsters to leave. Not before young Bruce, in a dazed state, bumps into none other than Ra’s Al Ghul!
In the present, Batwing works away at figuring out Ascalon and the Suit of Sorrows. Meanwhile, Jean-Paul battles his inner demon, also named Ascalon, the system forced into his mind during childhood.
While quite subtly, this issue touches on a few philosophical and religious questions that will make readers think and reflect. Another impressive thing about this issue is the amount of respect for the legacy of DC. From the get go, Rebirth was meant to acknowledge the past of the characters and bring it back. In this issue, Tynion IV is pulling in so much of the rich history of Batman and blending it perfectly into this new story. This fusion of past and present links these issues perfectly with Pre-52 canon as it should.
This issue was fantastic. It has so many little things that can be taken as coincidence and yet have such impactful meaning to the legend of Batman. Not to mention that final page reveal!